New Vajda Hawx 46 - First Impressions etc

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8 years 8 months ago #20625 by akirker
I paddled the new Vajda Hawx 46 today in the Elite layup. I am a Hawx 43 elite pro owner and paddle mainly in Sydney harbour middle harbour and around the heads. Before I make some first impression comments on the 46, some comments on starting out and a few observations about boats from someone fairly new to the sport who has experimented a little. 

Previously I have owned a V10 Sport (model before the new current one) and a Think EVO 2 carbon. 
My V10 Sport was stolen :-( which led me to a second hand EVO 2.  

As a relatively new paddler here is a couple of notes re these two boats which are meant to be both intermediate. I would say the v10 sport is a beginner to intermediate boat and the EVO2  is more intermediate.  The EVO was quite a step up from the sport. 

While the quality and finish of the EVO 2 was good and it was a nice boat the Hawx 43 (while much narrower) was straight away on the first day for me both a faster and more forgiving boat.
The 43 lets you know before you swim. You have time to react and brace.  The EVO would just throw you in with about a quarter of a seconds notice leaving no time to react. My paddling improved considerably when I left the EVO and went to the HAWX 43. The EVO went to a new home with a better paddler :-)

 My first lesson was it's as almost as much about hull shape as width when it comes to stability.  

Fast forward 9 months from the EVO sale and the purchase of the 43 to now. I have been paddling for about 1.5 years and paddle 3 times a week so would say I am now an intermediate paddler. I'm 80kg. 

I love my 43 but sometimes in washing machine conditions, ocean or cross chop I struggle a little, bracing and have the odd swim.  My 43 is a very light boat at 9kg so the weight probably also is a factor in stability. 

I was interested to try the New 46 as I have been thinking about a more stable boat for challenging conditions and ocean. Possibly another v10 sport although the sports big bucket needs padding out for my skinny arse. The swordfish paddles very well but is not as comfortable and is not going to win any beauty contests :-)

Now to my 46 first impressions

When you hop in the 46 it feels like a 43 straight away in terms of comfort and layout. I noticed more primary stability straight away but also did pick up without being told that the bucket was slightly wider (10mm I'm now told). I fit  the 43 perfectly. 

As I paddled away it felt slightly more stable in normal conditions with less side to side stroke induced movement than my 43. I paddled out of middle harbour and towards south head which is normally home to some reflective waves, interesting currents, swell and launch (big boat) wake. Just what I was looking for to try the 46. 

In these conditions the stability difference was more noticeable and I felt like I may have been making better speed than I would have been in the 43. The 46 tracked straighter where the 43 dances more (weight is a factor as well). I turned around and caught a few bumps and it felt nice, turning well and running quite free. It wasn't big enough to really get a perspective of full runs.

I am thinking I might make the purchase in the heavier glass layup so I get the width and weight stability gain. I wouldn't let my lively carbon hot rod 43 go though as she is a beautiful boat and I might fully grow into her!

The other advantage of the 43 would be if you have a 6 metre garage it would fit. A full length Ski can be a bit if a pain in this area. 
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8 years 8 months ago #20628 by JamieMc
Replied by JamieMc on topic New Vajda Hawx 46 - First Impressions etc
Great to hear your opinion on the Hawx 46. As an agent for Think and Vajda I really like hearing feedback on the different skis. Both Think and Vajda have taken a different approach to their range and where they sit in comparison to other skis. Add 3 different build constructions and it give paddlers a great choice of craft.
After having access to the hawx 46 demo for a some testing in different conditions, I found it to be a very stable ski, that sits between a v10s and the new v10 stability wise. How ever, I found that it's speed and fun factor was way ahead of where a ski this stable usually is. The slightly shorter length has given this ski a noticeable advantage punching into chop and in solid messy down wind conditions.
Good luck with which ever direction you go on ski choice, and have fun.

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8 years 8 months ago #20629 by jocuba
Seriously... just what is there not to like about a Vajda?
Unless you've got a wide arse, of course, then you might want to look elsewhere.

Having paddled skis, on & off, for 20 odd years I only tried the brand 6 months ago; & am now the besotted owner (1 month ago) of a brand new Hawx 43 elite layup. My mid-life crisis splash-out maybe - but it cooks like nothing I've experienced before & zero regrets! Where has this ski been all my life? In my opinion this is the boat that 80% of recreational racers are simply missing out on.

Nice to hear some feedback on the other (more recent) models in the stable.

JamieMc: I'd love to get a comprehensive bullet-point opinion from you of a like for like comparison of the Hawx 43 & the Orca just to satisfy my curiosity - if you're up for it. Under what conditions, circumstances or criteria would you recommend or pick an Orca over a Hawx? Never been able to find a balanced well-presented opinion on this. It seems like the Hawx has superceded the Orca... is this simply because its a better ski in all aspects or is there a still a place for the Orca as an option?

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8 years 8 months ago #20634 by BenM
Hi jocuba,

I'm a Vajda agent in Tasmania and can share my thoughts on the Orca and Hawx 43. Very simply the Orca is best suited to larger paddlers or larger conditions, while the Hawx 43 is suited to a wider range of paddler weights and conditions and is the better choice for lighter paddlers/lighter conditions. I would say the "tipping point" between the two skis would be around the 80kg mark.

Where I live in Hobart, on the doorstep of the Southern Ocean, we enjoy a lot of big downwinders and I love the Orca in these conditions. It never feels outgunned. For smaller conditions I prefer the Hawx 43 as it's more nimble (lateral movement is easier thanks to the planing hull), catches less wind from the side, accelerates better, and allows for more leg drive due to it's cutaway hump. I don't think there is much difference in stability or top-end speed between the two models, the main difference is volume.

The Orca definitely hasn't been made obsolete by the Hawx 43 and is still a popular model down here. Like any good design it has found a niche past it's production peak. The Hawx 43 will have broader appeal as a more general purpose lower-volume ski, as well as possessing a more "evolved" cockpit which is arguably more comfortable and functional than that of the Orca. Horses for courses - and as always this is just one point of view so make sure you compare them yourself if you get the chance.

Hope that helps - Cheers, Ben
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8 years 8 months ago #20635 by JamieMc
Replied by JamieMc on topic New Vajda Hawx 46 - First Impressions etc
Ben has nailed it for a comparison between the Hawx 43 and Orca.
The Orca is by no means an old model. As Ben pointed out, there are a lot in Tas, and we still have them up the pointy end of races here.

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8 years 8 months ago #20638 by jocuba
Thanks a lot for feedback.

So, while I have your attention... why/what precisely is it about the Orca that you prefer it for 'larger' conditions? And if the Orca wasn't available/option to you would you opt for the Hawx anyway? From my understanding the 4 main factors/differences are volume, seat is 7cm more forward, hull shape & the Orca is slightly narrower at the widest point? Fairly significant elements I'd say.

Is it perhaps mainly to do with performance on the big runs - i.e. surfing or is it something else?

I ask this because I've only had 1 opportunity at this stage to do a solid downwind (20k's) with a big, clean & steep running swell 2m/2m+.
It was good but I was left with a few uncertainties.
Did it have a tendency to nosedive, or as I describe it - outrun itself?
Or was it because I needed to keep it up higher on the face for longer?
Is this the concilation for having the seat more forward & the 'planing' type hull shape that it gets down the face quickly?
Is it because its so fast/responsive on the catch or is it the weaker-point of an otherwise all-round exceptional ski i.e. big-swell & down-wind.
And/or does it merely just need a different approach & focus?

Anyway - it seemed to me to be behaving differently, in my experience, to that of other skis on the face.
I haven't had the pleasure to paddle an Orca but did discuss the subject with an Orca owner afterwards. He concurred - he used to paddle an Orca (before the Hawx) then got a Hawx; but went back to the Orca for similiar reasons. Others felt differently - no problem, no issue.

By the way I'm 6'4" & 86kg. My thoughts were that 90kg's would be the more obvious tipping point but maybe in big conditions the lesser volume is the factor/explanation.

Be interested to get your perspectives.

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